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Pakistan

Joint session of Parliament approves electoral reforms, NAB amendment bills

  • Earlier, President refused to sign the bills even after both the houses approved them
Published June 9, 2022

The joint session of the Parliament on Thursday approved the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Aaj News reported.

Earlier, President Alvi had refused to sign the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022, even though both the houses had approved them.

Objecting to the Parliament's earlier approval, the president sent back the documents to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, claiming that he "was not informed" about the “legislative proposal” under Article 46 before they were tabled in Parliament.

President Alvi returns Election, NAB bills to Prime Minister

The bills were returned by Alvi in accordance with Article 75-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

He claimed that both bills were approved by the National Assembly on May 26 in Senate on May 27 in a hasty manner. The bills had been forwarded to the President for approval on May 31.

He stated that the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan gave overseas Pakistanis a go-ahead to vote in the general elections in 2014 and in 2018. Moreover, Alvi pointed out that e-voting was also deemed safe and fair by the courts.

Meanwhile, speaking during today’s joint session, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Javed Murtaza Abbasi termed President's objections baseless.

Last month, the National Assembly of Pakistan approved the Elections Amendment Bill 2022, which sought to scrap electronic voting in elections and restrain overseas Pakistanis from participating in polls.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had made several amendments to the Election Act, 2017, including those that allowed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and granted overseas Pakistanis the right to vote in general elections.

In November 2021, a joint session of the Parliament passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 regarding the use of EVMs.

The then adviser to the prime minister on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan presented the bill to amend the elections act, 2017 [the elections (amendment) bill, 2021].

The motion to table the electoral reforms bill passed with 221 votes in favour while 203 lawmakers voted against it.

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